Alumni Reunion Celebrates the Then and Now

Alumni Reunion Celebrates the Then and Now

Alumni Reunion Celebrates the Then and Now

Hundreds of John Jay College alumni returned to their alma mater on April 21 and 22 for the annual Alumni Reunion Weekend, which included a special Founding Generation symposium to celebrate the 13-year tenure of President Jeremy Travis, who is stepping down on Aug. 1.

The awards dinner recognized three alumni — one of whom is a respected professor in John Jay’s Sciences Department — and a current John Jay sophomore, and was followed once again by a festive after-party.

To begin the reunion weekend, President Travis sat for an interview conducted in a casual, conversational style by alumna and John Jay Foundation trustee LaBrenda Garrett Nelson and Distinguished Professor of English John Matteson. With a format that loosely followed that of the popular TV show “Inside the Actors Studio,” Travis fielded questions on a variety of topics, including his signature accomplishments as John Jay’s president, his interactions with various college constituencies, his plans for life after John Jay, and even his tastes in music. The conversation also included questions from the alumni in attendance.

The celebratory dinner, which filled the Student Dining Hall, opened with words of welcome from Alumni Association president Shauna-Kay Gooden, and a toast to President Travis offered by Gooden’s predecessor, Michael McCann. “Jeremy Travis’s inspiration and commitment are responsible for what the Alumni Association is today,” said McCann. His commitment to John Jay is beyond compare.”

On behalf of the Alumni Association, McCann presented Travis with a framed engraving of Travis’s hero, the abolitionist Frederick Douglass. “I’m not speechless, but I’m close,” said Travis, who went on to tell the assembled alumni, “My job as president has been to make your John Jay diploma more valuable every day.”

The annual Michael F. McCann Alumni Scholarship, named for and underwritten by the former head of the Alumni Association, was awarded this year to Victoria Fix, a sophomore in the Honors program who expects to receive her bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2019. Fix, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., who was recently hired as a research assistant to Professor Jeffrey Mellow, said her professional goal is to work on reform of the public education system and to “continue solving social justice concerns.”

President Travis and Alumni Association president Shauna-Kay Gooden (r.) with reunion honorees Alden Foster, Joseph McGrann, Victoria Fix, and Professor Thomas Kubic.The Alumni Association’s 2017 Outstanding Young Alumnus award was presented to Alden I. Foster (A.S./B.S. ’12). Appointed last August to the post of Deputy Director for Youth Services and Community Engagement for the NYPD, Foster is a firm believer in the importance of mentoring. “I believe in helping young people,” he said in receiving the award. “I believe they are our future.” Mentoring, he noted, is his way of “trying to pay it forward.”

Professor Thomas Kubic, a member of John Jay’s Sciences Department and Program Director of the Doctoral Program in Forensic Science at the CUNY Graduate Center, received the annual Distinguished Faculty Award, with a sizable contingent of family members, friends and former students on hand to celebrate with him. In his acceptance remarks, Kubic, who earned his Ph.D. from the John Jay/CUNY Graduate Center forensic science program in 2003, offered a wry shout-out to his students, saying, “How come they like me? It can’t be because I go easy on them.”

Joseph P. McGrann, the Chief of Operations for the MTA Police Department, called his 2017 Outstanding Alumnus award “a tremendous honor,” and offered fond memories of how “John Jay College came to my rescue.”

McGrann, who retired from the NYPD after 37 years on Feb. 28 and began his new job with the MTA the next day, was a sergeant in the 1980’s when he was assigned to the newly formed Police Cadet Corps. He didn’t have a college degree at the time, but now-retired Professor James Curran convinced him to enroll at John Jay. “But for John Jay,” said McGrann, “I would not be standing on this stage tonight. But for John Jay, many of us would not be where we are today.”

He earned his B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration and Planning in 2012.

The Alumni Reunion Weekend continued on Saturday with the 5K Race for Justice, followed by a brunch and Family Day Carnival. 

John Jay Alumni Reunion 2017